If you’re looking to elicit laughs from an audience, make jokes about CNN’s blunder-filled coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Or, at least that’s what participants in the annual “Will on the Hill” performance learned.
A bipartisan crowd of senators and representatives, as well as a few members of the Fourth Estate, performed the Shakespeare-inspired “Toil and Trouble” on Monday, which poked fun at a “National Necessary News Network” trying to fill airtime before a White House announcement, with no news to announce.
Many of the jokes in the performance circled back to CNN’s gaffe-prone attempts to fill airtime, even when there is no news to report. Jabs at CNN President Jeff Zucker, CNN correspondent John King and others elicited some of the strongest laughter from the audience.
Yet HOH thought the standout performances of the evening came from Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., who played Republican senators with a penchant for torpedoing President Barack Obama’s Cabinet nominees. The two also shared a friendly high-five at the curtain call, which warmed our bipartisan-craving hearts.
HOH was also delighted with the acting skills of Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., who played members of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s Budget Committee and were terrified of saying anything but the talking points Ryan had given them. Mentions of fearing Ryan’s strength because of his P90X training abounded, and many laughs were had.
The annual event raises money for the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s in-school resources that benefit area students of all ages. Other members of the cast included Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., who played a kitty-picture-loving Republican; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of D.C., who played a member looking to earn voting rights for her constituents; and even British Member of Parliament Ian Liddell-Grainger.
The performance was anchored by “Veep” star Anna Chlumsky, who plays Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ chief of staff on the show, and Shakespearean actor Todd Scofield.